Résumé: Studying gamete biology can provide important information about a species fertilization strategy as well as their reproductive ecology. Currently, there is a lack of knowledge about how long sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax eggs can remain viable after being activated in seawater. The objectives of this study were to understand the effects of pre-incubation of fresh and overripe sea bass eggs in seawater and to determine the duration of egg receptivity. Pooled eggs (fresh and overripe) from four females were pre-incubated in seawater for 0 min (control), 0.5 min, 1 min, 3 min, 10 min and 30 min and then fertilized by pooled sperm from four males. The fresh eggs had a higher fertilization success than overripe eggs. Our results revealed a significant effect of pre-incubation time for both the fresh (P < 0.01) and overripe eggs (P < 0.01). Fertilization success of eggs significantly declined for both these treatments after 3 min of pre-incubation, which clearly indicates that sea bass eggs are able to be fertilized by sperm for up to 3 min after release into seawater. This study has particular importance for understanding fertilization strategies, reproductive potential, as well as reproductive ecology of sea bass.